Wishing Snake

Tina’s toilet brush hit something thick and firm under the rim of the toilet bowl, and then a snake tumbled into the water.

“Oh, bugger,” the snake said.

Tina stumbled backwards and ripped the earbuds from her ears. The sound of podcasters exclaiming about container gardening floated upwards from her shoulders.

During her tenure as a New York City subway janitor, she’d cleaned up a lot of surprising and revolting messes: human waste, dead animals, mysteriously soiled clothing, drug paraphernalia. This wasn’t even her first animal in a toilet, just the first that spoke.

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A Scary Story for Halloween (that is not as scary as the news)


Vanity was never one of my faults, not really, but I had become obsessed with my reflection.

It started, as most things do, subtly, as if everything were still normal. I woke up one night needing to pee; so naturally, I got up and went. I stumbled through the hallway, my feet shuffling along the thin carpet, not bothering to turn on any lights. When I finished peeing in the dark, I washed my hands. Glancing up, I saw my pale face reflected back at me, almost gray from the hallway nightlight. I noticed that I needed to pluck my eyebrows, and that the zit on my chin was finally receding. I leaned in a little closer to get a better look when I swore I saw a flicker of movement in the mirror, just at the periphery of my vision. Continue reading A Scary Story for Halloween (that is not as scary as the news)

A Short Story for Halloween

Happy Halloween, dear reader! It’s been too long since a bit of fiction flitted across this blog, and so, I give you a spooky tale for Halloween.

The Bathtub

Image: Yelp
Image: Yelp

The apartment I shared with Laura was clean, spacious, and incredibly hostile, as passionate romances also spur passionate break-ups.

After a week or so of couch surfing, I found a sublet in my price range a mile or so from my classes. Closer to campus were new complexes with attached gyms and single bedroom units well beyond a T.A.’s budget. My new place was one of the classic, yet dilapidated houses infested with young people that were common further from school.

It must’ve been a stunning place when it was new: a grand, old Victorian with broken stained glass windows and faded green shutters. The porch was unsettlingly soft, and the plaster stank of pot. But I was morose and the price was right. Continue reading A Short Story for Halloween

Drew & Tom Go Shopping

“Okay, so I figure I’ll bring a six pack of Blue Moon,” Drew says, dodging a gaggle of pre-teens.

Tom nods. “Good, though depending on the party you might want to bring two.”

“Right, right. Mina says it’ll be a laid back thing, but the effort shows, you know?”

“Yeah, so what kind of present were you thinking? Maybe a Sears portrait with Josie? You could wear matching sweaters,” Tom laughs before taking another bite of sugary pretzel.

“Stop being an asshole and help, bro. I don’t want to screw up, again.”

Tom rolls his eyes, “Okay! God! You’re such a diva! So, what does she like more than you besides beer and her cat?”

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Drew & Tom Find a Cat

“Hey, Drew,” Mina says, “is everything okay? Did my package arrive?”

“Uh, yeah. Not yet. I was just, you know, checking up with you. I wanted to make sure everything was okay with you.”

Her sigh crackles over the phone connection. “Well, you know how these things are. Hurry up and wait! The surgery went pretty well, so we’re just waiting to see how Dad recovers.” Her pause stretches out over several seconds. “Thanks for checking in, I guess.”

“Hehe, well, I was just, you know, being neighborly! Lookin’ out for you!” Drew tries to swallow, but his mouth is dry.

“Right. Okay. Well, thanks again. I gotta go.”

“Sure, yeah. Bye now!” Drew hangs up and looks at the blank screen of his phone. “I lost your fucking cat.”

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